The last three years on December 1, I stood most of the day at work and handed out ribbons to everyone who passed by, making sure they knew the significance and getting them literature too if they needed it. Today, I’ll wear my ribbon to school, and pocket a couple extra to hand out to those interested.
There are only 4 ways to become infected with HIV:
1. Unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected partner (the most common);
2. Sharing needles or other contaminated injection or skin-piercing equipment;
3. Blood and blood products through, for example, infected transfusions and organ or tissue transplants;
4. Transmission from infected mother to child in the womb or at birth and breastfeeding.
HIV/AIDS does not care if you are gay or straight, black or white, catholic or protestant, 65 or 5 years of age. HIV/AIDS can and does infect each and every single subdivision of life-whether you know it or not someone close to you has HIV.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that since 1981, when AIDS was first identified in the United States, more than 20 million people worldwide have died of the disease. Today, more than 40 million people worldwide are estimated to be living with HIV or AIDS.
In the United States alone, an estimated 1 million to 1.2 million Americans are now living with HIV, and 35,000 to 40,000 new infections are occurring every year.
(CNN.com article here)
For the last five years I worked with one of the finest pediatric HIV teams in the world, and each and every child and family-affected and infected with HIV-is one more they show how to live and hope. The hearts of medical, psychological and social professionals that help families with HIV are the largest hearts in the world. They care day in and day out, they ensure extraordinary measures are taken everyday in regards to their clients.
Today, I urge you: wear a condom, wear a red ribbon, write a politician. Don’t let today go by without acknowledging this global epidemic.